ONE time in pri­mary school, I just could not get my lunch box to open, and the wind was blow­ing my tie in my face and I was just a mess.

And sud­denly this girl came run­ning to­wards me, and gig­gled and helped me with the lid.

Just like that, we were friends. I miss those days. Now, making friends is a tricky busi­ness. There are new rules that I swear no one is shar­ing.

And you just don’t know what you will get. It’s like look­ing for that per­fect gift for some­one spe­cial.

You don’t know what it it is yet, but you will know it when you see it.

Which just means you spend hours wan­der­ing malls check­ing out the goods on the shelves, ex­am­in­ing them care­fully but then leav­ing them un-bought.

You could start in aisle one, where you can find forced friend­ships and con­ve­nient com­pan­ion­ship.

Maybe you’re re­lated, maybe work forces you two to­gether, or maybe they just live re­ally close by.

These are the peo­ple who you re­luc­tantly be­come friends with be­cause they’re al­ways kinda just there any­way.

It’s ex­haust­ing, be­cause you spend 80% of the time wish­ing they would leave you alone and then when they fi­nally do, you’re like, oh. Come back?

No. Try aisle two. This is a safety aisle. It’s the side-wheels on your first bi­cy­cle; a hugely em­bar­rass­ing per­sonal fail­ure, but a help­ful one.

This is the friend of friends ter­ri­tory. The friend­ship means these peo­ple can’t steal your lunch or call you a snot-face.

The forced po­lite­ness com­bined with the lack of sub­tlety on your friend’s part, means you have a slightly bet­ter chance of lik­ing each other.

So who cares if it’s ar­ranged? At least you can hol­i­day to­gether now.

Want some­thing with more spice? More spon­tane­ity? Check aisle three. They keep Fruit Loops and liquor there. Sin­gle? Cou­pled? It doesn’t mat­ter. These are folks ac­tively look­ing for new friends and they know ev­ery­one.

It’s ex­cit­ing be­cause any­thing can hap­pen here. Re­sults are guar­an­teed but safety gear is rec­om­mended.

Fair warn­ing, though: a lot of peo­ple will just think you’re hit­ting on them, which can be awk­ward or fun, depend­ing on your mood. Too out there for you?

Well, try the last aisle then. Its a mixed bag. You’ll find the path-crossers here. There’s some­thing there be­tween you, but some­thing stops you from making it hap­pen.

Maybe its be­cause you work with them. Gym with them. Or they’re to­tally flirt­ing with you but they shouldn’t be, and you like it?

Maybe it’s an ex? ?These friends are not friends. Not re­ally.

They are merely dis­guised as friends, but oddly they have a la­bel that says: Cau­tion! so you can’t say you didn’t know bet­ter. If you still can’t de­cide, oh well. You could al­ways just get a dog; they’re much eas­ier to shop for any­way.

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